Friday, June 27, 2014

Freeform Friday: Feed Your Soul Replay

This Time Last Year

 It's fun to go back and see what I was doing a year ago.  Come to find out, my mother and I had taken a day to enjoy the beauty of Fuller Gardens. Trust me, you don't want to miss these flowers and the beauty of the gardens. I do remember was hotter than hell. Just shy of 100 degrees. And we even went through the greenhouse! What are we nuts? Check out our visit here

Lately, I've been feeding my soul by painting with watercolors. Not enough in the last couple of weeks, but I did paint something for my niece's baby shower last weekend. Something for the nursery which will soon welcome her and her husband's first baby. 

It's something I say, usually as an inscription in a book for baby, when a new little one arrives. This one for my great niece-to-be, Olivia.

I wish I'd taken a picture of it in the frame, because it looked very nice.

It's always nice to give something you made to someone you love for a special occasion, don't you think? What's the last thing you made for someone?

Freeform Friday

I've never heard of Xavier Rudd, but my friend down under- Andrea of Strong Southerly was kind enough to introduce us. This song is beautiful..........and the video has some incredible nature imagery. It makes me feel good. Enjoy. Click here if you're reading via email.

No big plans this weekend other than getting ourselves ready for our big annual Independence Day Lobster Bake! Oh and pool time for sure.

Be well my friends and have a great weekend.

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What Inspires You Wednesday


Twenty six years ago today, G and I got married. 

 I know. Can you believe it? 

Can't deny it with the 26 year time machine landing smack dab in the 80s with those sleeves, right?

Neither one of us can honestly believe it's been that long. If you're young, we're here to tell you it's not all ballyhoo- it really does go by in the blink of an eye.

Just yesterday we were starting life in a studio apartment above our friend's the Harrington's garage. It was perfectly wonderful.

There have been so many good times along the way. Of course, life is not all rosebuds and fairytales and neither is marriage. It can be challenging and it can downright hard work. In the end though, that's what makes loving someone awesome. Knowing that no matter what, you've got each other's back, your in it together, and that's the way it will always be. Life and love are good that way.

Our 2013 Annual Christmas Morning Champagne photo.

Happy Anniversary Babe- wouldn't want to be on this crazy ride with anyone else.  It's you and me. Always and forever.

Do you remember when we met?

The other thing that's inspiring me today are baby photos.  I've been pinning ideas for the 'first family photo shoot' I have today with my neighbor friends and their new little one Piper. She's a peach. And a month from now, the shoot I'll have with my niece and her husband when their first baby arrives.

There are so many wonderful shots to love by very talented photographers.  

Check out all the baby preciousness here on my pinterest inspiration board.

So peeps, back to relationships. Make me feel super old. What's the longest relationship you've ever been in?

Ciao for now,


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

From The Desk Of Pamela J. Bates

Northbound Knitting Branding

I've been banging away at a ton of branding design for the last year working with clients as varied as a wine consultants, skin spas, a children's boutique and everything in between. I've been quite remiss in sharing some of this work with you and thought it was high time I at least began to catch you up on that front.

When I was approached by Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting to design a new logo and collateral to better reflect her brand, I was excited as soon as I took a look at her shop. It's gorgeous, and so are her products. Northbound Knitting has a modern, clean aesthetic; is really well put together, and has grown into quite a success. In fact when Lisa launches her new dyed yarn batches from her studio in Barre, Ontario, Canada, they often sell out in a matter of hours if they last that long. Due to this fact, many of her customers pre-order her hand dyed yarns. Her yarns are stunning and have deep color quality to them, thanks to the color-fast acid dyes she uses. Lisa also has a booming business in great part to her knitting patterns, many featuring simple geometric lines.

We took inspiration from all of that, as well as her market and where she envisions her business going as it continues to grow.

I created two initial design concepts.  The initial design Lisa chose to move forward with, was a play on her business initials- NBK, an abbreviated version of her business name which is how Lisa and a majority of her clients refer to her business.

This is how it began.

The simple, clean, straight forward lines of this logo really appeal to me.

There were only minor revisions needed for us to get to the final logo, which is one of my favorites that I've designed so far.


 Here's the final branding board for NBK.

It was a pleasure to work with Lisa who was an excellent communicator about her business, her needs, and her desires, right from the get go.

Lisa began incorporating her new logo and collateral into her Northbound Knitting marketing right away, from a new shop header to new business cards and hang tags for her products, as well as social media pages

When I get a response like this from a client, I know I've done something right.

"I'm so excited!! Your work is amazing, I can't wait to slap this logo all over!! I will also be having it tattooed on my forearm, hahaha!"

I don't think Lisa's gotten the tattoo yet, but you get the picture.

What have you been working on lately?

Make it a great day, it's a great day to have.

Ciao for now,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hello Summer!

Weekend Wrap Up

Hey gang. How goes it? Hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as I enjoyed mine.  Friday night we didn't get to have a campfire as it was a bit breezy, but lovely just the same. So we sat out on the patio and some of the neighborhoodlums wandered over, Gerry and Sandee to be specific.

Sandee headed home because she was beat after a long day and a road trip, so G, Gerry and I headed inside for a little youtubing. We played some serious throwbacks and great craic!

Saturday, we spent some time in the yard and then I headed to my niece Cait's baby shower. She has a little less than a month to go before baby Olivia Marie arrives.

It was a perfect day for the festivities.

I even won a prize. We had to cut a length of ribbon as long as we thought Cait's baby belly was around. Well, first everyone was telling me I was going way too long so I went short. Then they were all chiming that I'd gone way to short and it would never fit around. Lo and behold, mine was bang on!

My niece Maddie (on the left) came in second with only a tiny gap.

I got to take pictures of some pretty cute munchkins at the shower, including baby Teddy, our niece Nicole's (center above) best friend Abby's latest cherub. We've watched Ab grow up and now she's a mom twice over. Where does the time go.

Cuteness alert! Just look at these toes!

When I got home it was a still a beautiful evening out.

G had cut down our dead (insert sad face here) apple tree. It was completely hollow inside and we had milked it as long as we could. So, G built a campfire and threw some of the trunk on.  The flames shot right up through the middle.

Sunday was another glorious day. I spent it working on the pool, which I predict I will be in by the end of today. When I wasn't doing that, I was in the garden. Planting two more potatoes, doing some more mulching, mounding up around my potatoes so they produce more spuds.

Everything is looking good, including the beans.

The cardboard and leaves combo is doing a great job of keeping the weeds down. Can I get an amen on that one?

The weekend ended with great World Cup match against Portugal, who is ranked higher than the USA.  Well, we let them score on a weird bounce of the ball off our defender's leg as he was trying to clear it away from the goal. That was in the first 5 minutes. Bummer. We didn't let it bring us down though. We played great, and our player Jermaine Jones came back and put one in from 64 feet out. It was monstrous. Then, we score another great goal, a real team effort ending with Clint Dempsey hip checking it in. It was classic. We were looking good. We were looking great. And then came 5 minutes of injury time added on. Down the the last 30 or so seconds and we couldn't stop Portugal from scoring. Talk about deflated hearts. That close to a big win. Ugh. But at least we came away with a tie and not a loss.

Then there was sunset meadows to soothe my woes. 

Ah, that's better.
And all was right with the world.

What's on your plate for the week? Mine has lots of collateral design, ad design, some email marketing design and revisions. Full plate for sure.

Make it a good one!

Ciao for now,

Friday, June 20, 2014

Freeform Friday

Sunset Meadows

Since you got to hear me rant about our freezing cold, snowbound wicked winter, it's only right that I tell you this.

The last week of spring has been amazing. Spring has been a bit wishy-washy, not wanting to give up winter, more gray days than I'd like, and a fair bit of rain, so the fact that is has showed it's true colors this past week has been quite welcome. I am enjoying it with a grateful heart.

Last night we sat out and watched the sunset. It was a beautiful end, to a beautiful day with that pretty, spring light streaming across the lawn and sunset meadows. 

I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Freeform Friday

Now that the World Cup is in full force, I thought an ode to Brazil would be appropriate. You'll probably all remember this version that launched the career of Astrud Gilberto. Well, at least if you're as old as I am. Her vocals are amazing. Click here if you're reading via email

Then of course, there is Ms. Warwick. Click here if you're reading via email.

This version I found by chance and I'm glad I did. These kids knock it out of the park. Click here if you're reading via email.

This weekend will be full. Tonight, if the breeze dies down, more than likely a campfire outback to enjoy more of this beautiful weather. Tomorrow is my niece Cait's baby shower. She's got a month to go and we'll be welcoming Miss Olivia.  Sunday I hope to work in the garden and the yard. It would be nice if the pool was ready to go by then, but we will see.  Don't miss the USA v Portugal on in Sunday night World Cup action at 6pm est. It's a big one! Of course, they all are. It's the World Cup.

Got anything planned for the weekend?

Whatever you do, make it a good one.

Ciao for now,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

10 Earthshattering Things You Didn't Know You Needed To Know

About Me

It's time to share some really groundbreaking, newsworthy facts about myself. I hope you'll play along and share a little bit about yourself so we can get to know each other better.

1. It drives me crazy to watch bits and pieces of a 4 star movie. Either watch the entire film or not all. It's just not right.  It might have had something to do with being a film major in college.  Drives me bananas.

2.  Speaking of bananas.  I like them sliced in milk with a little honey or sugar.

3. I wasn't 'big' on boyfriends. I had and still have a TON of boy-friends, but although I've had a few boyfriends, I was never one that was obsessed with having to be part of a 'couple'.

4. Myself and my neighborhood pals drove my mother crazy playing Donnie Osmond's 'go away little girl' on the record player for an entire summer.

5. Mine and G's music collection includes everything from Pavarotti to the Sex Pistols, Gershwin to The Rolling Stones, ABBA to Paula Abdul (yes, Paula Abdul) and everything in between.

6. When it comes to bugs, generally speaking, I don't kill them. I remove them and put them outside. G calls it 'The Witness Relocation Program'.

7. I have performed on stage (a small stage ;) in M*A*S*H, as a wooden soldier in The Nutcracker Suite, and as Baloo the bear from The Jungle Book (in full Baloo the bear regalia). The list goes on.

8. If you're stuck on knowing who sang what song in the 60s-90s, I'm the girl who can usually bail you out.

9.  I wrote a letter to Scott Baio, one of my first celebrity crushes (after Donnie Osmond), inviting him to our home for a spaghetti and meatballs. I was working the Italian angle.

10.  I once stepped in a ground hive of bees when I was in 4th grade. It was after school and it scared the living day lights out of my two friends who were with me. They froze and couldn't help me as I was screaming and flailing about. Luckily, one of the teachers heard me and saved me (thank you mr. trembly). I had several stings, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

OK, your turn to spill the beans.


Make it a great day, it's a great day to have!

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What Inspires You Wednesday: Making The Most of Seasonal Crops


Our rhubarb crop isn't actually ours. It's our neighbors. They don't eat it. Which works for us, because we love it.

Before we talk about taste, let's talk about color. It is magnificent. The bright red stalks. The big green leaves. It is one gorgeous plant.

Then there is that wonderful tartness, when combined with sweet is enough to make you salivate.

I usually make rhubarb bread, I've tried rhubarb cake and have also made jam.  I thought it was time to add to my rhubarb repertoire.  So I made a crumble. Oh yeah. A crumble. Or a crunch. Whatever you want to call it.

I baked one for Dad for Father's Day and one of G (aka Mr. Sweet Tooth) and me.

We all thought it came out delicious.

I started with this basic recipe from The Farm Chicks and did a little tweaking because I was missing some of the ingredients. In the end, this is how the recipe turned out.

  • 4 cups rhubarb (chopped)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rinse and chop rhubarb and set aside.

In big bowl mix flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon, butter and yogurt. Press one-half of crumb mixture into a buttered 7"x11" or 8.5"x11" baking dish. (as you can see, I used a loaf pan because I couldn't find my baking dish! It worked just fine.)  Top with rhubarb. Set aside and make sauce.

Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and cold water. Heat on stove until lightly bubbly and thickened. I did it in microwave according to directions but I think stove top would work better.  When creamy looking and a bit thicker, take off stove and rest for a minute to allow to thicken a little more.

Pour mixture over the rhubarb. Top with the rest of the crumb mixture.  Put in preheated 350F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until liquid is bubbling a bit. Take out and rest. Serve plain or with whipped cream or ice cream.

Easy enough, right?

There is nothing like taking advantage of the crops of the season. Fresh, full of flavor. See what I mean?

It makes so much more sense than fighting nature, like trying to find a non-anemic looking tomato in the winter. In-season fruits and veg are as good as it gets. There is still more rhubarb to pick, but I've got to be quick in the next couple of days before it goes to seed. I'm thinking I can even chop, blanch and freeze it.  One way to have seasonal fruits and veg when it's not quite their season.

It's starting to feel like summer here. I've got the AC on for the dog because it's quite humid and he's an old boy of 14.  There is a nice breeze today and I think that will be the saving grace, especially since I'm still getting the pool ready. I so wish it was done.

Today is full with bookwork, design revisions and ad deadlines and more revisions. Kind of like yesterday. What's on your plate today?

Ciao for now,

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